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Ruling on an important question of civil procedure, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that when a federal district court transfers a case to another district due to “improper” venue, the original filing in the transferor court is the proper “filing date” for purposes of calculating any statute of limitations period.

In its 31-page opinion in Lafferty v. St. Riel, the court reversed a decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III that dismissed an auto accident lawsuit on the grounds that the two-year statute of limitations had run by the time the case was transferred.

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